Hundreds of youngsters in Purbrook Park School have been feverishly awaiting the 22-year-old midfielder’s biggest match at Wembley following England’s thrilling semi-final victory over Denmark on Wednesday.
And ahead of the historic sporting spectacle, pupils rallied to record good luck messages to their sporting hero before joining in with a rousing rendition of football anthem, Three Lions, which was played over the school’s PA system before hometime.
Purbrook Park’s headteacher, Paul Foxley said Mason’s incredible drive was a constant source of inspiration for children at the secondary, in Park Avenue, Widley.
‘Mason has been a tremendous inspiration to all the children in the school,’ Mr Foxley said. ‘We’re all really proud of him.
‘When he was a pupil here he was so friendly and polite. But he was driven and had such self-belief and determination. All our football players look up to Mason.
‘He was a perfect role model for the school. You couldn’t have asked for someone better.’
Talented young footballer Alice Jacknelle, who plays for City Ladies FC in Portsmouth, said Mason was one of her heroes.
‘Mason is an inspiration to everyone in football,’ said the 14-year-old. ‘He shows what can be achieved with perseverance.’
Classmate Albert-Lee Garrett, 14, was dancing on the tables during his English class when the Three Lions song was being played.
He added: ‘Everyone feels really excited to see Mason play. A lot of football lads look up to him and want to be like him, playing for big teams.’
Emma Bolton was head of Year 9 while Mason was at Purbrook. She said his legacy was inspiring all the children at the school.
‘I have been teaching a long time and he is the only kid who has “made it” made it,’ she said. ‘He is such an important role model for the kids who all look up to him.
‘When he was here he was liked by everyone. He had a great sense of humour, was cheeky and was incredibly bright. It’s amazing to see how far he has gone.’